Shape Shifting /Part II

Any major decision demands life-changes.  Some we expect, others crawl out of the woodwork, and some fly in on angel wings. In my long considered decision to commit to a 500 hour Yoga certification, all manner of flying beasts have been let loose.  Despite demanding more energy than expected, (Va sans dire.) it’s far broader in experience, and exploration of instruction than imagined,which provokes this pondering.

What makes a good teacher?  What’s the difference between a master-teacher and simply a good instructor? Are the requirements of being a splendid instructor much different than being a splendid human being? How does one grow toward mastery…of any sort? It raises questions of the inner teacher, the guru of the heart, and any relationship to that persona.  Eight months into a fifteen month training demands a re-commitment, a deeper questioning of the process, and a more acute level of awareness.

If you become a teacher, it is important to return to the beginning and ask, ‘how were you were raised?’  ‘What were the expectations?’  If I’d been born in India, I’d be under a guru, but most Westerners decline to blindly follow guru-dictates, especially those raised in the wild west where the angst of choice is the bread du jour.

Following that vein, I consider choice-fullness one of the most powerful tools a great teacher offers.  With insightful instruction students are given tools to learn to make best choices in any given circumstance, be it in a classroom, or on the street.  A master teacher does not always tell them what to do, or precisely how to do it, but instructs the how and why of exploration.  They open a door to questioning, to having a student listen to their own needs, and the idiosyncratic whys of their own body.

Master teachers create their own path.  They have studied under and with others, but they question, and ultimately go their own way, choosing the unknown road. Few of us have that kind of courage, or mindfulness. In that tempering process they have learned to what has true value for them, and what does not.  We can not all play all the notes, but we can learn to play those notes that resonate with our inner life.  That takes persistence.

A master teacher has stood on their ego long enough to welcome your arrival to become the master of your trade.  Their goal of lighting a student’s inner fire as humanists, and as a teacher adds inches to their height.  They stand taller because they are willing to have the student surpass them, which is what every great teacher must do, and so few can.

Pose With Seasonal Energies

Asana: Perhaps to lie in stillness offers opportunity to dialogue with the inner teacher, your own master teacher, an unknown magical self? Perhaps lying alongside friends, in an outrageous hat,   is the best way to grow into who you wish to become?  Perhaps in offering the body silence and rest we achieve mastery?

Astrological Notes: With the coming full moon/eclipse in Sagittarius & Gemini, we are all teaching and learning something important.  In the Sun-Moon face off, especially this close to the summer solstice, and connected by degree to the Galactic Center, this is a time to step up to the plate, ask the big questions, and expect big answers.  As always with eclipses, expect change.

Ayurvedic Notes: Spring, like fall is a changeable season and brings up Vata imbalances.  This spring, with its extremes of weather, the extra high pollen counts, and emotional economic shifts, all bodies need extra Vata attention as well as more prana as the Sun grows toward its highest point with the summer solstice.  We are in need of the vital force of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, sesame, olive & sunflower oils, sweet spices like coriander, turmeric, mint, basil, and cumin. Most important, food prepared with calm grace and love.



You indeed are The Master Teacher. I have to learn from afar, but reading your writings inspires me in many aspects of my life. You are a blessing to all that you reach with your words, your yoga, and your dance. I love the photography. He/she is able to capture the essence of the moments.

Jennifer Cooper

It is for all the reasons you state, that you are The Master Teacher. Each class you instruct us, guide us, provide us with parameters, give us modificiations & make suggestions. You then tell us just one thing and that is, above all, to listen to our own voice, our own body and our own soul. You watch us carefully ensuring our alignment. You listen to our questions clarifying our understanding. And then, you look away allowing our own expressions, our own embodiement of our poses…our asanas….our dances….our yoga….our lives. Finally, your gaze returns and you applaud us.



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